PAHF: USA women secure ticket to Pan Am finals after edging Chile in late night shootout

It was as tight a game as was expected between the No. 14-ranked Chile and No. 15-ranked United States of America who tied 1-1 in regular time, only to be divided by a shootout. The USA edged Chile 3-1 in the shootout but from the opening whistle came to play with a disciplined and structured game and their speed in attack was hard for Chile to manage. 

Maddie Zimmer got the USA off to a good start in the opening minutes as she out-paced three Chileans to gain the circle and earn a penalty corner. Ashley Hoffman’s flick was saved by Chilean keeper Natalie Salvador and Hoffman couldn’t get enough behind it on the re-award. The teams were well matched with USA holding slightly more possession and looking a little more dangerous on attack.

Chile had a threatening pass bouncing through the USA circle and Paul Valdivia connected but the ball was cleared at the last second off the goal line by Zimmer. 

Zimmer was on the move again in the 12th minute and her speed gave her all kinds of time to connect with Ashley Sessa who buried the pass past Salvador to give USA the 1-0 lead. 

For the next two quarters neither team could find space to attack. Both defence lines were stingy and quick to interrupt play heading towards the circle. In a moment, Amanda Golini’s quick run into the circle freed up Abby Tamer to have a go off her back foot but Salvador made a reflex glove save. Chile had some dangerous balls cross the USA circle but they were unable to connect and then the USA had a penalty corner that Ally Hammel swept too high in to the net.

Taking a page out of the Chilean men’s book just one night earlier, the Diablas found their energy in the fourth quarter earning their first penalty corner and making no mistake. Denise Rojas Losada finished on a sweep hit to send the crowd in to fits and tie the game 1-1 with most of the fourth quarter still to play.

Both sides would bend but not break as the USA had a penalty corner shot denied and Chile’s Manuela Urroz’s back-hand shot was blocked by a low stick from Hoffman. Rojas Losada had another penalty corner chance but that was run down by the USA defence. With neither team able to break the deadlock it headed to a shootout. 

It was nail biting as USA went up 3-1 on goals from Abigail Tamer and two goals from Ashley Sessa, a shootout and a penalty stroke on Leah Crouse’s take. Chile scored through Simone Avelli and their fourth shooter, Urroz, who needed to score to keep Chile in it, had her goal taken away after a video review showed the ball hit her foot. It was heartbreak for Chile but they will return to the bronze-medal game for the sixth- straight year, this time facing Canada. For the USA, it will be their eight appearance in the final, having only one twice in 2015 and 2011. USA will face Argentina who have appeared in the final in all 10 editions of the event and beat Canada 3-0 to advance to the finals.

Earlier in the day Uruguay beat Mexico 3-0 and then Cuba beat Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 to set up the 5-6th game between Uruguay and Cuba and then the 7-8th game for Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago.


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